Kathleen Turner’s play slammed by critics

Veteran actress Kathleen Turner’s new play Bakersfield Mist has been savaged by critics who branded it “implausible”, “phoney”, and “too pleased with itself”. The new drama, which opened in the West End on Tuesday (27May14), stars Turner as Maude, a trailer park resident who believes she has unearthed a valuable Jackson Pollock painting. She enlists a New York art expert named Lionel, played by Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid, to verify it.
However, the culture-clash show, written by Stephen Sachs, has failed to impress many critics, who found the plot unconvincing and suggested the actors’ performances are the only highlight.
Henry Hitching, of the London Evening Standard, writes, “Her (Turner) passionate performance and an enjoyably outrageous one from Ian McDiarmid can’t redeem a play that turns a true story into something clunkingly implausible… There are flashes of humour, but despite the strong performances Bakersfield Mist feels very slight.”
Charles Spencer, from the Daily Telegraph, echoes the criticism, adding, “Bakersfield Mist, neatly directed by Polly Teale and cleverly designed by Tom Piper, is too slight, and a touch too pleased with itself, to be fully satisfying. But, unlike the dubious picture at the play’s heart, the performances are definitely the genuine article.”
Mark Shenton, from The Stage, writes, “A play about trying to verify the authenticity of art falls at the first hurdle if it itself feels phoney… The situation here simply beggars belief… I suspect it will quickly fade into the mists of memory.”
Bakersfield Mist will run until 30 August (14) at the Duchess Theatre in London.